March 13, 2009
Notre Dame, Ind. -
The Notre Dame hockey team opened the second round of the 2009 CCHA playoffs with a 5-0 shutout win over the Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks in game one on Friday night in front of a sellout crowd of 2,819 at the Joyce Center.
The Irish came out flying in the first period and got goals from Calle Ridderwall, Ben Ryan, Billy Maday and Ryan Thang , building a 4-0 first period lead before turning the game over to All-American and Hobey Baker candidate Jordan Pearce in goal.
After seeing only seven shots in the first period, Pearce had to be sharp the rest of the way, stopping 12 shots in the second and 11 in the third on the way to a 30-save shutout win. Ryan Guentzel closed the scoring with a third-period goal for the 5-0 win.
"Omaha's got some talented offensive players. They had some good scoring chances as the game progressed and Jordan (Pearce) had to make some good saves for us, especially in the last half of the game. That's what he does, and he doesn't get enough credit for it," said Irish head coach Jeff Jackson.
For Pearce, the shutout was his seventh this season, which is a new single-season record at Notre Dame, snapping a tie with former teammate David Brown `07, who had six shutouts in the 2006-07 season. The shutout was the 11th of Pearce's career, putting him one behind Brown for the career record.
While we are on Pearce, who earlier this week was named honorable mention all-CCHA and one of three finalists for CCHA player of the year, he also tied the Notre Dame record for career wins in goal as he picked up his 56th win, tying him with Lance Madson `90, who recorded 56 in his career.
The win was the seventh in a row for the Irish with the last loss coming on Feb. 8 at Ohio State. Second-ranked Notre Dame is now 28-5-3 for the year. The loss drops the Mavericks to 15-16-8 overall and marked the third time this season they had lost to Notre Dame.
The Irish victory also was the 100th for Notre Dame head coach Jeff Jackson and his senior class in just four seasons. They are now 100-47-14 (.665) since the start of the 2005-06 season.
After having a week off due to a first-round bye, the Irish came out flying in the opening period, dominating play in the early going as they peppered starting goaltender Jerad Kaufmann with 15 shots.
The first goal of the night came just 2:01 into the game with Ridderwall getting his 15th of the season. The sophomore left wing stripped UNO defenseman Pasko Skarica of the puck to the right of Kaufmann and in the same motion backhanded the puck through Kaufmann's pads for what turned out to be an unassisted, game-winning goal.
The Irish used the power play to take a 2-0 lead at the 7:18 mark of the first with Ben Ryan getting his 10th of the season.
Erik Condra, who had two assists on the night, moved the puck along the left wing boards to Ryan who fed it right back to the Irish captain. He one-timed a pass to the right point where Ian Cole blasted a shot that Kaufmann made the save on. Ryan, who after passing the puck drove to the net, was waiting at the top of the crease for the rebound that he deposited behind the Mavericks' goaltender for the two-goal lead.
Maday made it 3-0 at 15:46, scoring his 15th of the season off a great centering pass from defenseman Kyle Lawson. Nebraska-Omaha tried to dump the puck around the boards, out of their own, but Lawson pinched in and kept the puck along the right wing boards. He found Maday alone in the slot and the CCHA rookie of the year candidate buried a shot past Kaufmann to build the lead to 3-0.
Notre Dame would score once more before the end of the first period as Thang, playing in his first game since injuring an ankle on Feb. 6 at Ohio State, whipped a wrist shot from the left wing circle through a screen past Kaufmann for his 10th of the season.
A great job of cycling by the line of Thang-Ryan-Condra kept the puck alive in the UNO zone until Ryan was able to work free for a shot that Kaufmann stopped only to see Thang drill the rebound past him for a 4-0 Notre Dame lead.
"Our guys were flying in the first period," said Jackson.
"That's as good a period as maybe we've played all season long. We were buzzing. It was good to see some of the things that we were doing. We were playing on our toes, and I thought we started playing on our heels later in the game."
Nebraska-Omaha started the second period by pulling Kaufmann in favor of Jeremie Dupont in goal and they Mavericks started taking the play to the Irish. But every good scoring chance they had, they ran into Pearce who turned them away, time after time.
The Irish wrapped up the scoring in the third period with Guentzel and Dan Kissel combining for the team's fifth of the night.
Guentzel found Kissel alone in the slot and Dupont was able to stop his shot but could not control the rebound as Guentzel lifted it up under the cross bar at 16:47 for his fourth goal of the season and a 5-0 Notre Dame lead.
From there, the Irish worked to preserve Pearce's shutout and the senior goaltender closed out the period to gain his seventh blanking of the year.
In the game, Notre Dame had a 31-30 edge in shots on goal. Kaufmann made 11 saves in the opening period and Dupont had 15 over the final 40 minutes.
The two teams will return to action in game two on Saturday, March 14 with opening faceoff set for 7:05 p.m. The winner of the series will advance to the CCHA championships at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit on March 20-21.
** With his two assists in the game, senior captain Erik Condra has moved into a tie for eighth on Notre Dame's all-time assist list with 109 in his career. That ties him with David Bankoske `93. For his career, Condra now has 48 goals and 109 assists for 157 points. That ranks him 13th on the all-time points list.
** With the win, the Irish are now 6-0-1 in the last seven meetings with the Mavericks. Jordan Pearce owns a 5-0-0 record versus UNO. All-time, the win improved Notre Dame to 20-28 in the CCHA playoffs
Game 1 of Second Round CCHA Playoffs
GAME SUMMARY 1 2 3 - F
Nebraska-Omaha (15-16-8) 0 0 0 - 0
#2/#2 Notre Dame (28-5-3) 4 0 1 - 5
First Period: ND: Calle Ridderwall 15 (unassisted), 2:01; ND: Ben Ryan 10 (Erik Condra, Ian Cole), PPG, 7:18; ND: Billy Maday 15 (Kyle Lawson), 15:46; ND: Ryan Thang 10 (Condra, Ryan), 17:06.
Penalties: UNO: 2 for 4 minutes; ND: 2 for 4 minutes.
Second Period: No Scoring.
Penalties: UNO: 1 for 2 minutes; ND: 2 for 4 minutes.
Third Period: ND: Ryan Guentzel 4 (Dan Kissel), 16:47.
Penalties: UNO: 2 for 4 minutes; ND: 2 for 4 minutes.
Shots On Goal:
Nebraska-Omaha 7 - 12 - 11 - 30
Notre Dame 15 - 8 - 8 - 31
UNO - Jerad Kaufmann (20:00) 11 - x - x - 11
Jeremie Dupont (39:48) x - 8 - 7 - 15
ND - Jordan Pearce (60:00) 7 - 12 - 11 - 30
UNO: 0 for 5
ND: 1 for 4
Attendance: 2,819 (sellout)